Ashfield councillors back Corbyn for leader

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Ashfield Labour councillors have given their backing to embattled Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

26 members of Labour’s Ashfield party have signed their names to a statement supported by over 500 councillors from local authorities across the East Midlands.

Challengers Angela Eagle and Owen Smith need nominations from 51 MPs and MEPs to get on the ballot paper while, as the incumbent leader, Mr Corbyn is automatically entitled to stand.

The leadership contest was prompted after Mr Corbyn lost a vote of no confidence and bitter divisions about Labour’s direction have emerged in the party.

The statement reads: “During the last nine months of a Jeremy Corbyn led Labour Party we have forced Conservative U-turns on welfare cuts, Saudi prison contracts, and put pressure on the government over their plan to force schools to become academies.

“Anti-austerity and renationalisation are both back on the national agenda and there is a Labour commitment to scrapping tuition fees and reintroducing student and nursing maintenance grants.

“Importantly, Labour saw an increased vote share in both the Oldham and Tooting by-elections, won all four mayoral elections and got two thirds of Labour voters to vote Remain in the EU Referendum.

“Based on this, we, as Labour Party members in the East Midlands, feel that Jeremy Corbyn has provided strong leadership and offered a new style of politics that resonates with hundreds of thousands of people up and down the country and from all walks of life who oppose the divisiveness of the current Conservative government.

“We, therefore, send a message of support to Jeremy Corbyn at this difficult time and in any leadership election. We urge all Labour MPs to unite the party behind his leadership and focus our energies on challenging the Conservatives and presenting policy that will help the many communities who need a Labour Government.”